ARCEP publishes a recommendation to facilitate VAS market reforms

Paris, 20 March 2014

On 17 July 2012, ARCEP adopted a decision that introduced reforms to the pricing methods applied to calls to short or special numbers – corresponding to what are referred to as value-added services (VAS) which allow users to access weather forecasts, mail order retailers or government services, for instance.

These reforms resulted in:
-    the adoption of a pricing model referred to as “C+S” which includes two components: the price of the call (“C”) which is to be the same as the price of a call to a fixed line number, and the price of the service delivered by the provider (“S”);

-    making calls to VAS numbers which are currently free when calling from a fixed line, also free when calling from a mobile number.

In mid-2013, several call origination operators, along with operators’ and service providers’ representative associations, expressed their concerns to ARCEP over the lack of clarity in how VAS interconnection services that call recipient operators provide to call origination operators would change once the reforms were introduced. This lack of clarity thus prevented call recipient operators from entering into the necessary negotiations to amend the terms of their contracts with service providers.

In light of these concerns, ARCEP deemed it necessary to draft a recommendation on the relationship between call origination and call recipient operators. This recommendation on the wholesale VAS interconnection market was submitted to consultation in late 2013.
Reminding stakeholders of their legal and regulatory obligations, and the terms of application of the existing symmetrical regulatory framework, the purpose of this recommendation is to facilitate commercial negotiations in the run-up to VAS market reforms, so that they may be completed by the end of May 2014.